Tuskers crowned T20 champions after walloping Eagles in final

Tuskers – 179-6 in 20 overs (Craig Ervine 65, Sean Williams 50, Milton Shumba 30*; Wessly Madhevere 3/19, Tanaka Chivanga 2/41, Richard Ngarava 1/40). Eagles – 110 all out in 15 overs (Gareth Chirawu 39, Rodney Mupfudza 24, Wessly Madhevere 15; Ainsley Ndlovu 5/20, Sean Williams 3/20, Thabo Mboyi 1/12). Tuskers won by 69 runs

Tuskers have been crowned the 2020/21 Domestic T20 Competition champions after outstanding fifties from Craig Ervine and Sean Williams, followed by excellent bowling from Ainsley Ndlovu, powered them to a convincing 69-run victory over Eagles in the final played at Old Hararians on Saturday.

Eagles won the toss and in line with their usual policy put Tuskers in to bat. With just two runs on the board Bright Phiri, who had not yet scored, hit the ball uppishly to backward point and was caught off Richard Ngarava.

Ervine hit two successive fours off Tanaka Chivanga, continuing his brilliant run of form. Chari swung a ball from Ngarava over the square-leg boundary for six, but in the next over he tried to hook a leg-side ball from Chivanga and was given out caught at the wicket for 14; 33 for two after four overs.

Sean Williams, like Ervine, quickly hit two fours and the team fifty came up in the sixth over. He was in cracking form and overtook Ervine in the twenties. After 10 overs the score was 95 for two wickets, with both batsmen quite in charge of the bowling.

The team hundred went up in the 11th over, and in quick succession the batsmen reached their fifties, Williams off 28 balls and Ervine off 32. Off his very next delivery Williams was caught at backward point for exactly 50, with a six and six fours to his credit; 119 for three, after a partnership of 86 in less than nine overs.

Luke Jongwe came in, but could not get going, and at 127 he was bowled for four, hitting across a ball from Wessly Madhevere. Then Madhevere struck a vital blow for Eagles when he removed Ervine, who strangely miscued a stroke on the leg side and put up the easiest of return catches.

Ervine had scored 65 off 47 balls, with a six and seven fours, and the score of 139 for five off almost 17 overs did not look so good for Tuskers now. Most of the responsibility now lay with Milton Shumba, and he soon lost Clive Madande for one, bowled by a good ball from Chivanga at 146 for six; 18 overs were now gone.

Shumba did a good job, hitting three fours in the final over to finish unbeaten with 30 off 18 balls, the total being 179 for six. Eagles were soon in trouble as they went in to chase their target.

In the first over Ainsley Ndlovu trapped Chamu Chibhabha lbw for five. Madhevere went for the runs, playing some fine strokes to score 15 off eight balls, but he was out to a reckless stroke, sweeping across the line to Ndlovu and being out lbw at 27 for two.

Only two runs later the new man Tinashe Nenhunzi leapt down the pitch to drive a ball from Charlton Tshuma and skyed a catch to mid-off for one, and Eagles were in serious trouble at 29 for three.

Rodney Mupfudza, who opened the innings, was still there, and was joined by Gareth Chirawu. They kept the score moving well until it reached 56, when Mupfudza stepped forward, missed a drive at a ball from Williams and was stumped for 24.

Off the next ball Brad Evans was given out lbw sweeping at Williams, and at 66 for six Eagles were in total disarray. Chirawu, now partnered by Ngarava, played some good attacking strokes and after 10 overs the score was 81 for six, the required run rate being now just over 10 runs an over, but with only four wickets left.

Ngarava made four before he swung firm-footed at a ball from Thabo Mboyi and played it on to his stumps; 88 for seven. Chirawu, now with Mufudza, continued to attack and the team hundred came up in the 13th over.

At 103 Mufudza (4) was caught off Ndlovu, and at 110 Chirawu’s gallant fight came to an end for 39 off 32 balls, as he backed away to a yorker from the same man and was bowled. Three balls later, with the final delivery of his four overs, Ndlovu bowled Daniel Jakiel and the innings was over in 15 overs for 110.

Ndlovu thus became the only bowler of this tournament to take five wickets in an innings, for 20 runs in his four overs. It was a fine victory for Tuskers, and if the batting had been rather patchy, the bowling was excellent, with Williams also taking three wickets for 20 runs.

Mountaineers — 160-5 in 20 overs (Kevin Kasuza 45, Gary Chirimuuta 29*, Dion Myers 26; William Mashinge 2/13, Andre Odendaal 2/32, Privilege Chesa 1/26. Southern Rocks — 161-8 in 18.4 overs (Tadiwanashe Mutumbami 51, Richmond Mutumbami 41, Cephas Zhuwao 24; Tendai Chatara 3/17, Donald Tiripano 3/32, Dion Myers 1/14). Southern Rocks won by two wickets

A fine third-wicket partnership of 82 between Tadiwanashe Marumani and Richmond Mutumbami was mainly responsible for Southern Rocks’ victory in their third-place play-off match against Mountaineers, although the later batsmen nearly sabotaged the innings. In the end, after a collapse against fine bowling from Tendai Chatara and Donald Tiripano, Rocks just scraped home to win by two wickets with eight balls to spare.

Mountaineers had won the toss and decided to bat. Kevin Kasuza and Tinashe Chiora put on 25 in the first four overs before Chiora, trying to pull a short ball from Andre Odendaal, skyed a ball on the off side and was easily caught in the covers for 12.

Kasuza was playing himself in, but then began to play his strokes in fine style, with Dion Myers as his new partner. He moved to 45 off 33 balls before he tried to dab a ball from Privilege Chesa to third man, but only edged it to the keeper, at 75 for two.

The team hundred came up in the 12th over, but Myers and Gary Chirimuuta struggled to score as quickly as they wished. Eventually Myers had a frustrated swing at a ball from William Mashinge outside the off stump and edged a catch to the keeper.

Off the next delivery, the new man Kudzai Sauramba slashed at another off-side ball and Richmond Mutumbami took his third catch of the innings behind the stumps; 104 for four in the 14th over.

The Rocks bowlers continued to restrict the batsmen, who had to rely on ones and twos, with an occasional boundary. Tendai Chisoro bowled his four overs for 19 runs without a wicket, which would have been a remarkable four overs for 13 runs had Chirimuuta not hit his final delivery for six.

Tony Munyonga after a struggle found his touch and in five balls hit two sixes and a four. He reached 24 off 17 balls before he swung over a yorker from Odendaal and was bowled; 146 for five in the 19th over.

The innings ended at 160 for five, with Chirimuuta on 29 off 28 deliveries and Wellington Masakadza on eight. Rocks had bowled well, but Mountaineers no doubt felt disappointed that they were never able to get fully on top of the bowling.

Rocks made a dynamic start to their run chase, with the explosive Cephas Zhuwao and Brian Mudzinganyama at the crease. Zhuwao hit the first two deliveries, from Munyonga, for four and six, and later in the over Mudzinganyama also hit a six – 18 runs came off that opening over.

Chatara bowled the next over and Mudzinganyama hit his second ball for four but was caught on the leg side off the third for 11. Zhuwao continued on his merry way, with another six and four off Tiripano, and he scored 24 off 12 balls before a lofted pull off Chatara resulted in a catch in the deep; 47 for two in the fifth over.

The team 50 came up at the end of the fifth over, with Mutumbami having joined Marumani. Mutumbami made a bright start, with two fours and a six off successive balls from Tiripano.

After 10 overs the score was 94 for two. It reached 129 for three in the 13th over when Mutumbami came down the pitch to drive a ball from Myers and was out for 41, scored off 29 balls with six fours and a six.

Then Mountaineers fought back, as Roy Kaia (4) lashed a ball from Tiripano into the covers for a catch, and Tafadzwa Tsiga lbw without scoring to a good ball that moved back in. The score was 135 for five in the 14th over, and Rocks must have had visions of losing a third successive match from a position of strength in a run chase.

Marumani, one of the finds of this competition, reached another impressive fifty off 31 balls, but William Mashinge (6), in trying to turn a ball from Chatara to leg, stepped on to his stumps to be out hit wicket at 144 for six. At 153 the danger increased for Rocks as Marumani went, bowled by Clive Chitumba as he tried to work a ball to leg – he made 51 off 34 balls, with four fours and two sixes.

Chisoro drove a straight four off Chitumba to ease the pressure a bit, and Odendaal played out an over from the dangerous Chatara on 159 for seven, leaving two runs to win in the final two overs. Chisoro faced Tiripano, but off the second ball sliced a catch to gully, having made 10.

The new man, Blessing Muzarabani, drove the next ball for a single to level the scores, and then Odendaal edged the following delivery past the keeper to take Rocks to a nerve-racking victory.

After two bungled run-chases, Rocks had nearly choked again, but at least this victory will give them some small consolation in a competition which they no doubt expected to win after their first two victorious matches.